Tucson, Ariz. – The Le Moyne College baseball team is ranked 24th in the Collegiate Baseball Newspaper Preseason Poll, as announced by the publication this week.
The Dolphins, competing at the Division II level for the first time since the 1987 season, earned 278 points in the vote of coaches throughout the country. Le Moyne is the third of four Northeast-10 Conference teams ranked amongst the Top 40 in the nation. Defending East Regional champion Southern Connecticut State is ninth with 518 points after posting a 45-9-1 record last season. Franklin Pierce, a 40-game winner last year, is 13th with 454 points, while UMass Lowell landed 37th with 88 points.
West Florida, which went 52-9 last year en route to winning the national championship, received 640 points to garner the top spot in the poll. Francis Marion (41-16) ranks second with 618 points, Central Missouri (49-10) is third with 606 points, Grand Valley State (52-5) came in fourth with 590 points and Mount Olive (47-10) tallied 586 points to place fifth.
The Dolphins, who went 340-103-1 and appeared in 11 NCAA tournaments in 15 years as a Division II member from 1973-1987, return 21 letterwinners, including eight starting position players and two starting pitchers from last year's 23-30 squad that posted wins over three teams from a power-six conference (Missouri, Penn State and Boston College).
Offensively, the Dolphins are led by a pair of seniors and a junior, while three seniors and a junior lead the pitching staff. Senior center fielder Brett Botsford (Baldwinsville, N.Y./C.W. Baker) hit .311 last year with a team-best 61 hits, 13 doubles, 20 stolen bases and 41 runs scored as a starter in all 53 games. Senior third baseman Matt Marra (Brewerton, N.Y./Central Square) hit .247 as a starter in all 49 games he played, while adding 27 runs, 11 doubles and nine stolen bases. Junior shortstop Ryan Mahoney (Clay, N.Y./Cicero-North Syracuse) hit .292 in 51 starts and added team-highs of six home runs and 31 runs batted it, while scoring 39 runs and stealing nine bases.
Senior southpaw Mike Anarumo (Levittown, N.Y./MacArthur) leads the pitching staff after going 4-1 with a 4.59 earned run average and 25 strikeouts in 33 and one-third innings pitched, including a 2-0 record and a 0.82 ERA in 11 innings over a pair of starts in May. Senior righty Ed Kohout (Clarence, N.Y./Clarence/Genesee C.C.) struck out 56 batters in 59 and one-third innings bouncing between the starting rotation and the bullpen last season. Junior right-hander Derek Zielinski (Schenectady, N.Y./Colonie) went 3-4 with a 5.20 ERA and 48 strikeouts in his first year back from Tommy John surgery, while senior southpaw Mark Kuzma (Waverly, N.Y./Waverly) was 3-6 with a 4.53 ERA and 36 strikeouts in 59 and two-thirds innings pitched over 10 starts.
The Dolphins open the season with a four-game series at #5 Mount Olive, which advanced to the national semifinals last year. First pitch on Saturday, February 18 against the Trojans is scheduled for 12:00 p.m.
Click here for the full Collegiate Baseball Newspaper Poll